YOU ARE THE ADVICE COLUMNIST: My Boyfriend's Messy Home Makes Me Think We Can't Have A Future

Is there any way to make him realize that the house really affects me and the way I see the future of our relationship?

Sep 4, 2013 at 6:30pm | Leave a comment

I've been with my boyfriend for 4 years. For 3 of those years he's owned his own home. He's understandably proud of the fact that he bought his first home before he turned 30. But the way I've seen it, he's more proud of the fact that he owns a home than in the home itself.
It's a very small house, and there's clutter everywhere. There are boxes everywhere from items he orders online, one small wall of the kitchen is taken over by paper and plastic bags he doesn't get rid of, the refrigerator is even cluttered because we can't always get things in after grocery shopping. Junk mail is everywhere- kitchen counters, microwave, faux fireplace heater, the couch, desk, floor -- and his bedroom has a path through the clothes on the floor to the bed. This house is not a comfortable place to be, at least for me.
I'm not a terribly organized person, but the clutter is overwhelming to me. It's also not cleaned regularly. It's been a continuing source of anger and conflict. We've been to therapy, and I haven't seen many improvements. He thinks I expect too much of him because he works full time, although I have to say, I don't think working full time precludes one from maintaining their home. At one point in time I wanted us to live together, but now I can't see that happening unless he significantly changes how he maintains the house. He will also point out that I still live at home and don't have to maintain a house, but I probably do more chores at home than he does.
I'm not asking for the house to be spotless or for him to do it all at once, and I've offered to help (and do help clean up when he is motivated to do it). But I will not go in and clean the house for him. It seems every time it's brought up, there's an argument, no matter what I say or how I say it. I just always thought that when you buy a house, you maintain it, put some work into it, make it your own and make it something to be proud of and a nice space to relax in. Is there any way to make him realize that the house really affects me and the way I see the future of our relationship? Or should I just stop saying anything because I don't own my own house and don't know what it's like?
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